Cognitive reassurance

I’ve not posted a blog for a long time, but I think it’s important to write something when the mood strikes me. I think I got out of the habit of writing when I felt like my blog was becoming a site for preaching my ideas in a time where I became to understand myself a lot more, and found an identity I’m not comfortable “preaching” about.

Something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently, is how our ideas about the world influence how we believe other people think. Ever since I was little, I assumed at some point or another that all of my friends were the same age as me (whether they actually were was another story). This phenomenon has translated to all sorts of other ideologies. I always presume that everyone shares the same mindset that I do, or will suddenly have an epiphany that matches my viewpoint.

The most prominent thought bouncing around my noggin recently has been death… I know, but it’s not what you think. I’ve been thinking about death positivity, and how the western world views death. This may have a lot to do with Caitlin Doughty. If you don’t know who she is, just type “ask a mortician” into Youtube and she’ll introduce herself to you. I’ve been grappling with a definite discomfort about death for a few years now and feel this may be strongly linked to a lack of exposure. So what do I do? Immerse myself in death rituals and death culture from around the world.

While this may seem like a bizarre and macabre thing to do, it’s actually quite life affirming and considered very normal in many parts of the globe. I know I’m pretty gothic and weird anyway; I feel more comfortable talking about death and what I want to happen to my body when I die (body farm please)! The real issue here is that I think everyone else has been exploring death and start talking as if they have been thinking about it too. In a way, I believe it’s good to have these conversations with friends and family so they know what to do when you die, but at the same time I keep having to remind myself that it’s totally weird and not everyone thinks the same way I do.

This brings me to the idea of the social media trap. Algorithms have now been set in place over a variety of social media platforms in order to expose you to the information you are most likely to agree with. This is so dangerous. When the Brexit referendum came around in 2016, my Facebook timeline was so filled with people sharing the same viewpoints as me. I was certain we would remain in the EU. I was VERY wrong. The problem with this is you don’t get the other side of the argument; you end up in an echo-chamber. You’re not always right in your opinions and if you don’t get exposed to other viewpoints, you’ll never change your mind.

It also perpetuates this idea that everyone thinks the same way I do, but some of the most interesting conversations you can have is with someone who vehemently disagrees with what you think. My best friend from university has some very strong opinions which completely oppose mine, and she is one of the most interesting people I have ever met. Obviously it’s nice to have like-minded friends too, but if you agree with someone all the time it’s not only boring, but can seriously disillusion you from the real world and actually, is quite a dissatisfying way to live your life.

So I guess my point is, find someone to argue with and play devil’s advocate as much as possible. Try not to get offended. Have deep meaningful conversations and look at other points of view. Do it for your own sanity!

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